A major UK farming and food production company has selected Atana dewatering technology to make its onsite wastewater treatment process more sustainable and efficient.

Gressingham Foods is the UK’s largest duck and speciality poultry supplier, it has farms across the UK and two processing plants in Suffolk.

Sludge produced as part of the site’s effluent treatment process was previously taken away by tanker to a waste management site. However, this is a costly process, made more challenging due to tightening environmental regulations relating to sludge management in England. As a result, many industrial companies with onsite treatment, such as food and beverage producers, are embedding new processes to reduce the amount of sludge produced.

After discussions with treatment specialist Atana, part of WCS Environmental Engineering, Gressingham Foods hired a Volute dewatering press, which can reduce sludge volume by up to 30-40 per cent. Low energy, low noise and fully automated, the specialist equipment runs a continuous process, with a unique self-cleaning mechanism that prevents clogging.  After a successful 12-month rental period, Gressingham opted to purchase a full-scale permanent unit.

Barry Mann, northern area sales manager at Atana, said: “Dewatering of liquid sludge is a simple, cost-effective, and sustainable alternative to tankering. We are pleased to be able to support our client Gressingham Foods as they made the transition to dewatering and implemented new technology.

“Built off-site and installed, connected and commissioned by our engineers, the Volute press can be placed directly beside the site’s effluent plant. We have worked very closely with Gressingham to delivery this solution, which will bring significant cost savings in sludge disposal costs, reduce the number of tanker journeys required and enhance the site’s overall efficiency.”

Gressingham Foods environmental manager George Seinet said: “We are always looking at ways to make our wastewater treatment processes more sustainable, efficient and cost effective. As such, we are pleased to be working with Atana to install permanent dewatering technology to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions on our mission to become a net zero business.”

Dewatering is the process of removing liquid from sludge to reduce its weight and volume before disposal. The separated liquid continues through the plant’s treatment process, in most circumstances to be discharged into the public sewer, in line with water company trade effluent rules – although in some cases, being recycled for industrial use onsite.

The remaining, dry solid waste, known as cake, can be easily stacked, and transported by lorry to an anaerobic digester and broken down to produce biogas and biofertiliser. Separating out valuable resources in this way takes a circular economy approach that can even generate revenue, while also reducing the need for costly tankering and the number of journeys required.

Available for trial, capital purchase or hire, the press can provide immediate enhancement to onsite treatment. Approximately 5,000 Volute presses are in operation across Europe, but WCS Environmental Engineering are seeing growing interest across the UK, as a result of the changes to sludge management regulations.

WPL and Atana are now a part of WCS Environmental Engineering

WCS Environmental Engineering is a part of the WCS Group, which has the in-house skills and expertise in place to deliver full turnkey solutions from influent to effluent, with the capability to close the loop with water reuse.